The St. Louis Cardinals released former closer Ryan Franklin Wednesday, after a start to 2011 that's been marred by two separate collapses in April and June. Franklin, who began the season as Cardinals closer, had fallen so far down the bullpen rabbit-hole that the Cardinals just weren't able to play him at home. Fernando Salas has emerged as closer in his absence; the Cardinals are expected to bring up an internal option to replace him, perhaps Brandon Dickson or Jess Todd.
Franklin accumulated 84 saves in his three-plus years as one of the most unlikely Cardinals closers in history; a former starter, Franklin was an unlikely bet to make the roster before emerging as Jason Isringhausen's set-up man and finally his replacement. He made the All-Star Game in front of his hometown crowd in 2009, on his way to a 1.92 ERA and 38 saves; in his best year as a starter he finishes 11-13 with an ERA of 3.57.
Franklin isn't expected to retire immediately following this decision.